“And why now this time?” asked Kang Yu.
“It just is time, father. The business thrives now like it never has. He’s a thorn grown too big to tolerate anymore.”
“So, Byung, are you bragging, son, that the business has grown better under your direction than it did under mine?”
Byung paused. He thought this might be true, in his egotistic way, but he knew better than to shoot off his mouth.
Kang Yu took the silence as a sign. “No matter if you think this to be true, Byung, but you know who calls the shots, yes?”
Still quiet, Byung knew this was the case.
“And we do nothing about David Chan until I say we do. If you kill him now, now that business is indeed thriving, you will throw a wrench in the works that could ultimately undo everything I – and you – have accomplished.”
He did want to give his son his due. Having to escape to Korea, Kang Yu knew that if it were not for his son’s competence, the business might not have gone anywhere but downhill.
“But father, if we let him continue on his crusade against us, there is no telling how much harm he could do to us. His do-good mindset is almost maniacal at this point. Don’t you understand that?”
Now it was the father’s turn to be quiet. This was true. His son’s insight did align with his own. Even so far away from Honolulu, he could follow the series of events that were leading to a showdown.
“I just had to take care of yet another informant he’s managed to turn against us. The fact that you’ve helped so many Koreans come to Hawai‘i and live rewarding lives has brought many more possibilities for people to turn against us. Even if most of those of your generation remain loyal, their sons are more willing to turn against you. The deals Chan cuts with them cut us again and again. I can barely keep up with this mob of turncoat ingrates.”
Kang Yu sat back at his koa desk, a massive one he’d had shipped from Hawai’i. He weighed again, for the umpteenth time, the need to eliminate Lieutenant Chan against the acceleration of effort that would be launched against his organization by the Honolulu police department. You do not kill the most decorated HPD officer and expect everything to be coming up roses out of the load of manure you will have made.
“Father? Are you still there?”
“Yes, Byung, I’m here. I think, for the time being, we should wait. I don’t want to stir up the hornet’s nest just yet. Please call off Wang. I need to explore options, need time to decide what to do.”
Byung Yu’s temperature rose. With all due respect, his father didn’t know how hard it was now. David Chan was a much bigger problem now that might seem smaller when you were ensconced so far away from the scene of the action. He pictured his father staring at the scene through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars.
But all he said was, “Yes, father, I understand.” Because that’s what a dutiful son would say. And then when Kang Yu said goodbye and hung up, the last thing on Byung Yu’s mind was calling off Sung-min Wang.
Whether his father liked the idea or not, David Chan had to die, and it had to be now. There was no time for philosophizing about the situation. No time for pussyfooting around. His father might desire a leisurely time frame to sit back and contemplate all the possibilities. But not Byung Yu. For the son, the time had come. End of story. End of Lieutenant David Chan.
The phone rang. Byung Yu stared at it. Was his father now psychic? Could he read all the way across the Pacific Ocean that for the first time in his life, his son had stepped up as a man, one to truly succeed the father, one to lead like a grown-up should lead, not like a little boy taking orders?
The man about to cross his father’s wishes, Byung Yu cleared his throat and reached for the receiver.